When Win Thida, a 45-year-old Asian elephant living in Amsterdam’s Artis Zoo, scratched her cornea in a tiff with a pen-mate, zookeepers needed to find a way to help her get better. So they called veterinarian Anne-Marie Verbruggen. And she decided put a contact lens over the elephant’s eye.
The first time such a procedure has ever been pulled off in Europe, Verbruggen had to train with the elephant for weeks before attempting to stick the transluscent lens on Win Thida’s eyeball. “The main difficulty was her height,” Verbruggen told . “Elephants can’t lie down for long before their immense weight impairs their breathing, so I used a ladder to get close enough. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked. She seemed happier straight away.”
Win Thida—the beloved matriarch of the zoo’s elephant clan—is expected to make a full recovery.